Louis Fico's Marte

One of the stalwarts in the Fico arsenal is this scale model of the Italian Marte air-to-air missile. It's a 3X scale-up of an old Estes kit. Here are Pamela (10) and Michael (8) with their Dad and the Marte.

The Ficos with the Marte

Normally, it's a two stage (pop-and-go) model, but at the January '96 launch, Louis flew it with a 3rd drop-stage. All three motors were FSI F-100s.

The Marte at the RSO table

OK, OK -- so drop staging is kind of funky looking, but what do you want? This thing already has enough fins for four or five stages anyway!

It was a successful and exciting flight (if not exactly straight up!).

The Marte in flight

At this point, the Marte is well into its second stage burn, about to drop the finned booster. This photo was snapped at an angle, and makes the flight look a lot more horizontal than it actually was. See also the video of this flight in LUNAR's Video Gallery.

Postscript: At our March '96 launch, Louis tried to fly the Marte as a two stage, using direct ignition from an FSI F100-0 black powder booster to a composite sustainer via thermalite to ignite the AP. Sounds workable, but the thermalite failed to ignite the sustainer and the Marte crashed, sustaining some damage. Hopefully, this old veteran will be resurrected to fly again!

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